Public/Private, High/Low Brow & Female Nudity

I found the article on sexting quite interesting, and combined with Walker Rettberg ideas concerning filters, I thought this was a good jumping off point for discussing female nudity.

There are several online projects that ask questions about how society attaches “appropriateness” to some types of nude bodies but not to others. For example, the Venus de Milo is a piece of high art work that is publicly displayed, and the artist endlessly praised. However, a woman who displays her body publicly via a cam show is considered low-brow, definitely not art, and definitely not appropriate — even more so if she has a body that falls outside of the “norm” of bodies we have been conditioned to in popular media.

I am even struggling with whether or not to attach an “explicit warning” to these links; I would not put on on a link to Renaissance nudes, so why do I feel like I “should” put a warning when it is a mash-up of classic nudes and normal, modern women? It perhaps has to do with this notion of public vs private space, and that when a normal women displays her own body, she is transgressing these boundaries. This is perhaps why people are quick to categorize teen girls sexts as an act that is dangerous to themselves rather than understanding it as an agented, valid expression of sexuality.

Pablo Garcia and Addie Wagenknecht are the artists behind Webcam Venus, wherein they asked webcam models to pose in the same way as various classical, celebrated nudes and presented the shots side by side. Artist Vanessa Omoregie is behind CamgirlsProject, which creates collaged pieces that stitch together elements of classical nudes and webcam performers.

Another element that may be layered to this is the filter that we understand the sexuality through; Venus de Milo is understood through the filter of the sculptor, Alexandros of Antioch, who, as the artist, decidedly adds/leaves things to the piece. Female bodies seem to have be, historically, not only subject to the male gaze but also processed through a male-oriented filter. Some women use the internet to reclaim that lens and fashion their own filters, which is one of the powerful facets of camming/sexting/publicly re-claiming ownership/authorship over the body and how it is inscribed in space.


Source: Public/Private, High/Low Brow & Female Nudity

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